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Landlords timely delivered itemized damages notice to former tenants

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The date a tenant provides her forwarding address to her landlord triggers the 45-day period the landlord has to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

A small claims judge ordered landlords Lindsay and Kristopher Washmuth to return Johnny and Amy Wiles’ $1,500 security deposit, $800 in attorney fees and other costs after determining the Washmuths’ itemized statement of damages regarding the security deposit was not timely.

The Wileses rented a residence in Lapel from the Washmuths and moved out April 1, 2013, one day after their lease expired. The Wileses refused to provide a new address initially, directing their landlords on April 29, 2013, to send the itemized list to their attorney’s address.

The Wileses sued for return of their deposit. After receiving the Wileses’ new address on the small claims filing, the Washmuths mailed the damages list to them May 28, 2013, seeking more than $1,900 in damages and to keep the security deposit as well as money for unpaid utilities.

The small claims court found that the Wileses had provided the landlords with a permanent address – a P.O. Box in Lapel as well as the address of their attorney. As such, the judge ruled the itemized statement was not timely.

In Lindsay Washmuth and Kristopher Washmuth v. Johnny Wiles and Amy Wiles,  48A04-1310-SC-515, the Court of Appeals reversed, noting that the tenants didn’t provide a mailing address until April 29, which triggered the 45-days under statute the Washmuths had to deliver the itemized damages notice. The notices sent May 28 and June 8 were therefore timely.

“[W]e conclude that, if a tenant immediately provides a forwarding address upon termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession, a landlord has forty-five days to deliver the itemized damages to the tenant. However, if the tenant fails to provide the forwarding address upon termination of the rental agreement and delivery of possession, … the landlord ‘is not liable . . . until supplied by the tenant with a mailing address to which to deliver the notice.’ The landlord’s obligation cannot begin to run until after the tenant has supplied a forwarding address. The landlord’s obligation to send the notice is tolled until it receives the forwarding address,” Judge Michael Barnes wrote.

 
 

 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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